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Metabo 18V LTX BL Quick Drill/Driver 5.5Ah

Price: Under $40
 

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Review of Metabo 18V LTX BL Quick Drill/Driver 5.5Ah, made by Metabo

(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you want a hardcopy)

Reviewer:

This is one awesome drill set. Even the case it comes in shows that "fine German engineering" we've come to expect from brands such as BMW. Over the past few decades, I've owned and worn out various drills. Battery-powered or cord-powered, they eventually wear out. I've always bought a premium American brand and always felt I've gotten my money's worth. Not just because a well-made drill will last longer, but because it will make good holes every time. Cheaper drills start to experience chuck wobble long before you ever see that in an industrial-grade (aka, contractor-grade) drill.

This drill has a brushless DC motor. I've written on such motors in the electrical trade press. They have many advantages, and one advantage you will notice for the size and weight of this drill is how much torque it's got. When I drill a hole, I don't want to have to baby the drill. That's why I've always bought a hefty drill. The extra size and weight tell you there's extra torque, but in this case you get extra torque without as much of the extra weight. It's still a heavy drill, but it has a weight-saving design. You pay for that upfront, but the good news is you don't pay for it on the job--where it counts.

Everything is done well, down to the smallest detail. The drill case, for example, is something that's going to last a very long time and is designed to properly and securely hold all of the components. Cheap drill sets, if they come with a case at all, often come with a plastic one that has plastic hinges that break. Inside, if they have any type of hold-down or tray, it doesn't work well or last long. This case is made to serve the owner well, and it even looks handsome.

The attachable handle is easy to install and remove. So is the belt clip. How to use these was obvious to me, some other things less obvious (will get to those in a moment). Many drills have a bit dock. Typically, it's magnetized (as is the case here). Often, it's located too close to the hand grip, causing the bit to be knocked off. Metabo has two docks, one on each side out of the way.

This comes with a spare battery! So you can charge one battery with the included charger while using the other. This is perhaps overkill, as the battery has a very large capacity. Not is it large, but it is a large LITHIUM battery. Still, if you're doing a big job or working with tough applications you will appreciate being able to do a quick swap. With this system, you'll never have to choose between overheating your drill motor due to low battery or finishing the job. The charger that comes with this is the ASC-30 36V. It does not take long to charge the battery. Once it is charged, the charger senses this and basically puts itself into charge maintenance mode. Sweet! No worries about drying out the battery due to overcharging, that's not going to happen (been there, done that with other chargers for other products).

The battery was my first hurdle, however. I had to refer to the instructions to see how to remove it. I kept thinking it must have a push button latch or something near the joint, and I could not find that. I did find the charge state indicator; push the button, and a 4-light display will tell you your approximate charge (all 4 lights lit means full charge, 2 lit means 50%, and so on). A quick look at the manual, and it turns out the battery latch is up higher. Gee, I could have found that after all. Push the button, and the battery pack slides right off. Don't push the button, and it stays on even if you supply significant force.

As with other drills, it has forward, reverse, and lock positions. Unlike most other drills, it has a gear selector; you slide to position 1 for slow turning or 2 for fast turning. I've never had this feature on a drill, before. I've had just variable speed that is a function of how far you depress the trigger. This has that variable speed function also, but combined with a slow gear or fast gear setting. This can be very helpful where you have a tricky application requiring high torque and slow speed; for example, starting a large screw into masonry or needing precision placement of pilot holes in hard materials.

It has a pulse mode, so you can use it as an impact driver. It has a rubberized grip, and it just feels good in my hand. It has a torque setting, which is something I came to really appreciate on the last drill I bought. Basically, it's everything you'd want in a contractor-grade drill / drill set.

If you know your tools, you'll fall in love with this drill at first sight. It looks like a well-made tool, because it is a well-made tool. Those are the only kinds of tools I buy, because those are the tools that ultimately cost you less money and let you do your best work.

 

 

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